In India, as in other countries, the rise in the number of street and working children is associated with the phenomenon of rapid urban growth, especially of sprawling slums and shanty towns. The predicament of the urban child "in difficult circumstances" is inextricable from these conditions of urban poverty in which he and she is brought up. The first point of any enquiry into childhood in India's slums and squatter settlements, therefore, has to be the entire living context of poor urban children: physical, environmental, socio-economic, and familial.
The ICDC research study into the situation of urban children in Kenya focussed on the country's three main cities: Nairobi, the capital, Kisumu on Lake Victoria, the main city of western Kenya, and Mombasa, one of the most important and ancient ports on the east African coast. Separate studies were undertaken and although the situation of children in difficult curcumstances has many similarities in the different environments, there are also contrasts.
A nation is democratic to the extent that its citizens are involved, particularly at the community level. The confidence and competence to be involved must be gradually acquired through practice. It is for this reason that there should be gradually increasing opportunities for children to participate in any aspiring democracy, and particularly in those nations already convinced that they are democratic. With the growth of children’s rights we are beginning to see an increasing recognition of children’s abilities to speak for themselves. Regrettably, while children’s and youths’ participation does occur in different degrees around the world, it is often exploitative or frivolous.
This Report is organized in three main sections: 1) Introduction: Basic concepts and practices of participation.Characteristics and elements of participatory development. 2) Transformation strategies: what can be done to support the practice on a wider scale? 3) Programming, management, and policy issues: recommendations for UNICEF and its partners.
Broadly accepted international instruments specify the conditions under which intercountry adoption should be undertaken if the rights and best interests of the children concerned are to be protected and fully respected. The Digest identifies abuses of intercountry adoption as well as the measures required to combat such violations and to uphold 'best practice' in this sphere.